Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania mother electrocuted in her own backyard

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Pittsburgh after a woman was electrocuted by a power line that fell in the backyard of her home. The power line apparently fell off of a power line pole. After striking the woman, her body caught on fire. The line could not be removed from her body until workers from the power company arrived sometimes later.

Such an accident could quite possibly have occurred in a number of areas across Pennsylvania where such power lines were not tightly connected to the power line poles. The procedures that the power company takes in securing such lines might possibly have contributed to this situation.

It has been theorized that conductors connecting the lines to the pole need to be cleaned using a wire brush before the wire can be secured into a particular splice and held in place. However, instead of using a wire brush to conduct such cleaning, workmen often used a knife or even pliers to clean the conductor instead. It seems that a knife or pliers would not do a sufficient job of cleaning to allow for the wire to easily settle into the groove.

Whatever the circumstances, it is obvious that something as dangerous as a power line should not simply just fall down into someone's private property where individuals could be expected to be present. Those maintaining the power lines should appreciate the dangers and take every precaution to insure that no one is injured due to contact with such a power line. Such companies need to be held accountable when injuries or fatalities do actually occur.

This instance was particularly tragic because it took the life of a Pennsylvania mother. Family members will now be forced to live without her emotional and financial support.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "PUC asked to investigate power lines in Irwin death," by Erich Schwartzel, Jan. 17, 2012

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